News & Insights
Insights5th February 2020
4 Ways Custom Software Can Help to Differentiate Your Business
Strengthen your market position
Whether they are off-the-shelf or solutions that are custom developed, software applications enhance your business and, more specifically, your business processes. Often what differentiates one company from another are their unique business processes. These might allow an organisation to produce a better product, to interact with customers in a more positive way or provide a better service. If an organisation, such as your own, has a unique selling point (USP) that revolves around a business process then custom software could help strengthen your market position.
If an organisation can find an off-the-shelf solution that supports its unique processes, then that might be the answer. However, if you can’t find an out-of-the-box solution that provides exactly what you need, you should consider a custom software application.
Integrating software into your own business processes helps to drive efficiency, effectiveness and enhance scalability. We’ve spoken before about the choice between custom software development and off-the-shelf (learn more here). However, one of the main benefits of custom software is that it helps to differentiate your business from the competition. In this article we will go through four ways custom software development from ActionPoint helps businesses to differentiate.
Custom Software Allows Businesses to Innovate and Stay One Step Ahead of Competition
In 2017, ActionPoint commenced work on a project with Ingenium Training and Consulting, who provide management and leadership development solutions. One of the key tools to Ingenium’s service is the ‘StyleUs Decision-Making Report’. This report acts as an “initial interrupter” which helps uncover the best way for management, teams and individuals to communicate with a common language. The creation of these reports was largely a manual process. As Ingenium’s client base grew, the manual report making process placed increased stress on company resources. Thankfully ActionPoint was able to develop a software solution which cut out the unnecessary repetitive admin, providing a simple, straightforward process for producing reports. (Read more about the project here.)
Custom software development allowed Ingenium to drive efficiency and effectiveness. However, even more importantly, by freeing up time and resources, Ingenium was given the freedom to innovative, develop business strategies and stay one step ahead of the competition. This is something that many organisations can achieve through custom software development.
Choosing Custom Software Development Can Be a Way to Future Proof Your Business
Off-the-shelf software solutions are a great way to solve or automate common processes to relieve problems faced by organisations. However, one downside of off-the-shelf solutions is that you are just one of many license holders. This means that you are at the whim of the software provider. If they decide to change the product or platform or roll out a brand-new version, there is little you can do. This is one of the hidden risks associated with off-the-shelf solutions. (Learn more here.)
With custom software development, you enable a development team to produce your own software solution. When this is complete, you own the product and the code behind it. This means that you are not at the mercy of anyone. In this regard choosing custom software allows you to future proof your business from complicated licensing issues down the line. This allows you to stay in total control.
Custom Software Development Allows for Greater Adaptability
Another way that custom software development allows organisations to differentiate is through bringing about greater adaptability. To better explain this point, we would like to refer to the custom software application that ActionPoint developed for the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). The DFA made the seminal decision to reimagine their pre-existing passport renewal processes, in a way that would significantly improve application processing – reducing delivery times thereby increasing customer satisfaction. There are many different types of passport renewals. Adult renewals are a lot more straight-forward as the process can be completed entirely online. This is in contrast to the hybrid process involved in children’s passport renewals which requires guardians to complete a separate physical form. For this reason, DFA decided to tackle the challenge of adult renewals first.
In this first phase project, ActionPoint delivered a world-class system. Once this product was successfully rolled out, DFA was able to adapt the software to support the children’s renewal process. This phased rollout was a complete success. This level of software adaptability would not have been possible without engaging with a custom software solutions provider.
Custom Software Development Can Open Up New Sales Avenues
When you choose off-the-shelf software solutions, you are purchasing or licensing someone else’s product. You are another customer to that software provider or licenser. However, when you build your own software, you are a software owner and lay the seeds to becoming a licenser. Rather than using someone else’s product, you are creating another asset that is internally owned. This can open up new sales avenues or revenue streams. Your solution could be packaged using a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model, licensed to other businesses or even sold as an asset. In this way, through building custom software, you are investing in yourself and not another software provider.
If you are trying to take your organisation to the next level and believe that software is the answer, there are a number of questions you need to ask. The first is – ‘Should we choose off-the-shelf or custom software development?’ To help with this, our Lead Architect and Engineering Manager David Rose, has developed a 6 Step Selection Process for buying off-the-shelf software and tips on how to spot when off-the-shelf just won’t fit. To check it out, click here. If, on the other hand, you would like to speak with one of our team, why not set up an obligation free consultation by visiting https://actionpoint.ie/contact/.